Amex Introduces New Program That Sounds Great But Offers Terrible Value
Today, American Express launched the new Upgrade with Points program in partnership with Plusgrade. This is a new way to provide Card Members with a more seamless and rewarding travel experience. The program lets you use your points for upgrades at over 20 airlines.
The new Amex Upgrade With Points program will give eligible U.S. Consumer, Business and Corporate Card Members enrolled in the Membership Rewards® the option to use Membership Rewards points, or a combination of points and dollars, to place offers on airline seat upgrades in first, business, or premium economy class.
You can use points to cover only a portion of your upgrade offer. For instance, if you select an offer amount of 20,000 points (=$200), your total offer amount will be 20,000 points (=$200) + $300 = $500. That means that the value of Membership Rewards points will be just 1 cent when redeemed through this new option.
How it Works
- Visit the Upgrade with Points section of MembershipRewards.com.
- Select the airline you are booked with.
- Enter your reservation details to see if your itinerary is eligible to upgrade.
- If eligible, use Membership Rewards points, or a combination of points and dollars, to place an offer towards an upgrade.
- Offer will be accepted or declined by the airline, usually within 5 days of your flight. Whatever the airline’s decision, American Express will communicate the result to you via email prior to your departure.
- If your offer was accepted, visit your airline’s website or call your airline to obtain a copy of your updated itinerary.
The new program adds another option for redeeming American Express Membership Rewards points. But that doesn’t mean that you should use your points this way. Redeeming Amex points at one cent a piece is not a good idea, as you can often get much better value when transferring to travel partners. But if you don’t want to use your cash for upgrades and have more points than you will ever need, then this could be an option.